(This story is written by Missourinet St. Louis contributor Jill Enders)

GRANITE CITY- President Donald Trump (R) wrapped up his Midwest swing this week by visiting the blue-collar town of Granite City on Thursday afternoon.

President Donald Trump speaks to steelworkers at U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works on July 26, 2018 (Jill Enders photo)

The town sits across the Mississippi River, near St. Louis.

Dozens of protesters gathered a few blocks away from the presidential visit, criticizing the administration’s policies.

A large American flag and a sign that read “Protect American workers” were the backdrop for the president’s address to hundreds of steelworkers at U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works.

President Trump touted his trade policies for bringing jobs back to the mill that had been idle since 2015.

“Today the blast furnace here in Granite City is blazing bright, workers are back on the job,” Trump told steelworkers.

U.S. Steel credited the president’s plan to impose tariffs when they announced in March that they were re-opening the plant.

“We are here to celebrate a great victory. A victory for you,” says Trump.

Meanwhile, hundreds of supporters lined the streets of Granite City to show their appreciation.

Granite City resident Ashley Duncan was among those supporters.

“It’s been a disaster here (in Granite City), you know people are about to lose their houses. It’s just heartwarming to see that someone actually cared to do something about it,” Duncan says.

Dozens of protesters also gathered in a nearby park to voice concerns and their opposition to the president’s policies.

“I mean I think the tariff issue is why the mill opened, but this is a temporary thing. This isn’t permanent, so I don’t think this is a long-term solution. I think as soon as Trump is out of office and things change, the mill is going to shut down again,” says Granite City resident Kelly Gardner.

Granite City’s website says U.S. Steel is one of the largest employers in town, along with ASF-Keystone/Amsted Rail and Gateway Regional Medical Center.

Thursday was President Trump’s first visit to Illinois, since taking office in January 2017.

Copyright © 2018 · Missourinet